Should Cannabis Be Regulated? Well, that depends…
Last week I wrote about the idea of abolishing the Controlled Substance Act altogether. I don’t believe that we should have any illegal drugs at all. But does this mean that we have drug manufacturers produce drugs without any oversight whatsoever?
When it comes to a general term like “drugs”, I do not think that we should have a free-for-all in relation to the “drug industry”. There needs to be some regulatory oversight when it comes to quality control, efficacy testing and distribution.
Additionally, not all drugs are created equally. Some drugs have far more severe negative consequences than others. Thus, some regulation is definitely required.
However, when we’re talking about marijuana, which is arguably one of the safest drugs on the planet, what type of regulation is acceptable?
I think the problem is slightly more nuanced than this, and “some cannabis” ought to be regulated, while other cannabis should be left alone.
Let’s break it down further.
What cannabis should NOT be regulated?
I believe that every single person should have a right to grow cannabis. Any state that legalizes cannabis consumption, yet does not allow you to grow your own simply wants to control the cannabis market. However, cannabis is a human right. It’s a plant that can provide you with plenty of benefits and just as you are able to make your own beer at home, so you should have the right to grow your own cannabis at home.
This category of cannabis should be completely left unregulated. People should have the right to exchange marijuana freely, grow and gift as they choose. Of course, certain restrictions would be respected such as not giving to minors, ensuring that it’s out of reach of minors and so forth.
However, there is no need for official regulation on these elements. Rather, if someone is caught selling or giving cannabis to minors, use the law to be the deterrent. We already have “corrupting a minor” and similar laws on the books to protect children from predatory adults.
Thus, it’s unnecessary to create a separate regulatory system that regulates personal cultivation and consumption. Even the 1-ounce limit per person is bullshit. If you have the ability to buy cases of beer, you should have the ability to purchase kilos or pounds. How else would you cater a wedding with cannabis or similar events?
Everything to do with personal consumption should ALWAYS be the responsibility of the consumer. We don’t need babysitters to tell us what we can and cannot put in our mouths.
What Cannabis SHOULD be Regulated?
The next category of cannabis that should most definitely be regulated relates to the consumer marketplace. The official place of business should be regulated for the sake of the consumer. There needs to be oversight on cultivation practices.
Somebody should be checking for pesticide levels, fair worker compensation, minority representation, quality control, false advertisement and so forth.
When it comes to the public legal market, we definitely want to have some regulation. The burden should be on the industry players to maintain a certain standard of quality. Proper labeling and educational campaigns are necessary for a legal market.
Everything to do with the “industry” should have “some” oversight, yet we should never follow the footsteps of California, trying to regulate it to death.
We need to make the industry accessible to the individual as well. Currently, roughly 80% of the cannabis industry at the top level are white males with a lot of money. What about the average Jane and Joe that wants to start up a small pot shop in their neighborhood?
Without regulation, we might see a future where the majority of the cannabis industry is run by major corporations utilizing their money to sway laws in their favor.
That’s why the right balance of regulation is always needed. You need to make it accessible for people to be able to participate, even if they don’t have the same financial freedom as other players. Let the market decide which they prefer, Big Corporate Weed, or Artisanal?
Currently, a lot of the regulatory requirements are making it impossible for smaller players to get into the game. Waiting for approvals and so forth can cost you thousands of dollars in running expenses.
This is why within the INDUSTRY of cannabis; we do need regulation. However, anything beyond the industry should be left solely in the hands of the market.
Will we ever get to the right Regulation Ratio?
I think, over the next few decades we will see the cannabis industry mature. Hopefully, every individual on this planet will also have the right to grow cannabis at home. For now, the fight for full-scale legalization is still underway, and only when the dust settles and we stop thinking about “when to legalize” but rather “how to run it more efficiently”, will we find the balance of regulation and the lack there of.